The case of alleged sexual harassment of junior women wrestlers on wednesday took a new turn with a Sports Authority of India official claiming their probe has revealed that the incident never took place and the furore was a result of rivalry between coaches.
A top SAI official, who did not want to be identified, claimed that three of four women whose signatures were in the complaint now say that they were forged.
He also said that the women have told SAI investigators that they had not accused any coach of having harassed one of the wrestlers during the camp in Lucknow a few weeks ago.
The girl, who was allegedly harassed, has no complaint now and the whole matter looks like that of rivalry between coaches, the official said.
The controversy broke out about 10 days ago in the media which reported that a junior girl wrestler from Haryana had levelled charges of sexual harassment against her coach during the under-19 national camp in Lucknow ahead of the Asian Junior Championship in Kazakhstan from May 31 to June3.
The matter was taken up by Sports Minister Ajay Maken when on May 16 a complaint was filed by the girl that her coach, also from Haryana, forcibly entered her room on the midnight of May 15. The complaint letter was reportedly signed by four other junior wrestlers.
The Sports Ministry asked SAI to file a report on the incident following which the body constituted a three-member committee headed by its Lucknow centre regional director Rachana Govil.SAI had barred the coach from accompanying the girls till the report was submitted.The official said the wrestlers had claimed that it was all done to tarnish their image and to deny them a chance to participate in future events.
The SAI official said the controversy could be a result of "unhealthy competition between the coaches".
"The report on the matter is yet to be submitted but whatever information we have gathered so far, it does not make any case," he said.
"All the four girls have told the federation that nothing of this sort took place in the camp. We have done our internal inquiry and based on that we can say that it's not a genuine complaint," a WFI official said.
Lalita, one of the wrestlers who met SAI's inquiry committee chief Rachana Govil, stated her signature had been forged and that someone took advantage of the rivalry between her and fellow wrestler Kiran Bishnoi.
"It was a fake application that contained my signature and was submitted to the Sports Ministry. I always sign in English, and my signature on the complaint letter was in Hindi. I have unnecessarily been dragged into this," Lalita told PTI.
"There was tension between two of us. We were not on talking terms and someone took advantage of this," said Lalita, who won a bronze medal in the Kazakh tourney.The eight-member girls' team returned after winning two gold, a silver and five bronze from the meet.